Me First

In spite of my best efforts, recent events shattered my equilibrium and I allowed ego, fear, jealousy and resentment to cloud my vision, color my experiences and generally make me miserable. Not to the same degree as before, but it was clear I needed to find a better way of getting out of this spiral of emotions. But, I didn't know how to begin.

After prayer and reflection, God answered through the beautiful thoughts and writings of others.


Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
I memorized this prayer as a young girl, but had a hard time putting it into practice. My ego always  seemed to get in the way, and yet, it is said, if you do not love yourself, you cannot love others. So, how do we love ourselves without being narcissitic and self- serving?

Richard Rohr offers some very good insight in how to do that from his book, The Naked Now.
  • If you want others to be more loving, choose to love first.
  • If you want a reconciled the outer world, reconcile your own inner world.
  • If you are working for peace out there, create it inside as well.
  • If you notice other people's irritability, let go of your own.
  • If you wish to find some outer stillness, find it within yourself.
  • If you are working for justice, treat yourself justly too.
  • If you find yourself resenting the faults of others, stop resenting your own.
  • If the world seems desperate, let go of your own despair.
  • If you want a just world, start being just in small ways yourself.
  • If your situation feels hopeless, honor the one spot of hope inside you.
  • If you want to find God, then honor God within you, and you will always see God beyond you. For it is only God in you who  knows where and how to look for God. 
The premise is simple. If I do not know how to love, forgive and nurture myself, how can I extend those virtues to others? This is the scriptural meaning of humility: to accept God's love and mercy as an undeserved, free gift, and in turn give it away to others - freely - without judgement.

 Yes, very simple indeed, but so very, very hard to put into practice, and that is the key - practice. The more I try, the easier it will be to follow these premises. As an aide, I copied the above onto a small card I intend to carry with me for a quick referral during my enevitable lapses.

This will be helpful, but I do not need to be overly anxious about remembering all of it. If  my heart is truly in the right place, God will do the rest. As I have mentioned before, it is not how many times I have failed, but how hard I try. It is the effort that counts, one step, one incident at a time - remembering when I do fail, God has already forgiven me. All I have to do is ask and then accept it.

What will all of this lead to? Joy, and peace the world cannot give. I am all for it. How about you?

Comments

  1. Another confirmation of my own convictions today. I want to jump ahead of what He is dealing with me on and correct the situation..ego, yes, ego..and since reading your past post on ego I am now noticing it more and more

    Thanks for sharing...there is a lot here for me...again!

    Blessings as the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in you

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  2. Such great words to be chewed on again and again. Thank you, Ceci, for a great post!

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  3. Ah, Janette. He just won't let us wriggle away into our own little devices, will He? No, He pokes and prods and continues to work us into His image. The pruning is uncomfortable, but we know the end result will be better than we can imagine.

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  4. Oh my goodness! I will be chewing on this line for a long time:
    "For it is only God in you who knows where and how to look for God."
    It just resonated with my spirit. Thank you!

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  5. Taylor, I couldn't agree more. I am sure it will take a life time for it all to sink in. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and comment.

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